Monday, January 27, 2014

currently vol. 2

Linking up with the ladies of A Mama Collective and Anna Kate at Home Away From Home for Monday "currently" posts. I forgot to do it last week but I'm back!

So I am currently...

Thinking about:

Still thinking about my show. (I'm currently in a production of a musical called bare: a pop opera). I guess since this link-up happens on Mondays, it's always the day after the last show of each weekend. Something finally clicked in the show for me last night emotionally, and it was a really powerful experience. The show deals with homosexuality and the Catholic church, teen pregnancy, suicide... It's pretty heavy stuff. And to me, it really tells a story of a group of teenagers who feel lost and who want to be found by someone. And the truth is, they are surrounded by people who love them - every single one of them. It's a really amazing show to be a part of as a high school teacher, because I see this in my students every day. The desire to be seen. To be truly seen for who they are - for someone to see their insecurities and their fears and to call them beautiful and love them anyway. I think we all long for that even as adults, but teenagers are in such a vulnerable time in their lives. (This is why I'm so, so, so passionate about working with teenagers. They need to be heard and loved in a special way. I am so blessed that God has called me to work with them.) 

Anyway, the show deals with all of these things with such beauty and honesty. Because it is controversial, we have had people get up and leave halfway through the show. But the people who stick it out until the end walk away deeply impacted. I spoke with a friend on Saturday once the show was over and he said that everyone walked out in utter silence - something he had never experienced before. We don't even take a bow at the end of the show, which is something that most people are confused by - but it's simply because the story isn't about us as actors. The story is about the young people who feel they have no voice - the young people who suffer because no one took the time to see them. So we stand there in silence and honor them instead of bowing. It's pretty powerful stuff. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm truly honored to be a part of the show. The cast is amazing, the story is amazing, and it's just a joy to be a part of this family who loves and supports each other through this roller coaster of emotions every night on stage. It's so special.


I don't know how anyone's "Reading" changes from week to week, I'm still working on My One Word.   However, I did start reading Antigone again. It's a Greek tragedy for those of you who aren't drama nerds like I am. I've read Antigone a million times already, but my friend gave me this book called The Lifetime Reading List and I want to read as many books on the list as I can, so I can highlight them and feel a sense of accomplishment. Told you, I'm a nerd. Antigone is on the list, and I don't count it if I read it in high school/college, so I picked it back up. We'll see if I actually glean anything new from it reading it for pleasure instead of for school!

Listening to:

The Frozen soundtrack. On repeat. And no, I don't have kids. I don't care. The music from this movie is stunningly beautiful. To me, it's more of a musical soundtrack than a Disney movie soundtrack. But who am I kidding? I still listen to Disney music all the time. I just can't get enough of the song "Let It Go." It's like every musical theatre girl's DREAM to sing that song now. So I'd have to wait a few years to actually sing it for anything. But it's just so powerful and gorgeous. Even the instrumental music. And it's been a Godsend as a music teacher - my new tactic for getting my little kids to behave is   letting them listen to Frozen for the last five minutes of class if they behave well. It's fabulous.


Um, still Parenthood. I just got caught up last night and cried and cried. I'm a big weeper, but normally TV shows don't make me cry. I just couldn't help myself. Seriously, if you don't watch this show, you are missing out.

Thankful for:

I am honestly thankful for the opportunity bare has given me to perform in an ensemble and dance again. These people are fabulous and I can't say it enough. It's a deep and meaningful show but I get to be in the one silly "Diana Ross" number as a back-up angel. It's pretty fun being sassy and ridiculous in the middle of all the seriousness. 

I am so thankful for my sweet friend, Ryan, who is playing my boyfriend in bare. He played Marius and I played Eponine in Les Miserables over the summer, and the connection and mutual respect and love we built night after night was something special. We've been given the opportunity to play opposite each other again, and I couldn't be more grateful. I feel so safe with him on stage and off, and I value our friendship so much. Our director pulled me aside last night after the show in tears, saying that he loves watching the two of us - that we are just "real people" together on stage - and that you can tell that we truly love and respect each other as people and performers. I am just thankful to have a friend like him, someone that I trust and love so much.

Lastly, I am thankful for my sweet man, Michael. He flew out to see my show on opening night and has been so incredibly supportive through this whole process. I couldn't ask for a better partner. I know it's not easy to be in a relationship with an artist - a performer who goes from show to show, who has to build relationships on stage that some people might struggle with. But he understands and loves and supports me through it all. It's amazing and humbling. He also decided to change his flight and stay an extra day on his last visit, which made me feel so loved and special. He is such an incredible man and I am so blessed.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

not yet a mother

I follow a lot of mom blogs. I mean, a lot. I don't have any kids, I have never been pregnant, I've never given birth. Why do I follow them?

Because I yearn to be a mother. I long so deeply and desperately to have my own child, to love someone that deeply and relentlessly. To be forced to be that selfless. To be able to have a husband and see him and myself in a beautiful little soul.

But God keeps saying, "Not yet." Not yet, not yet, not yet.

Now, I get told a lot, "You're so young. You have so much time!" I'm not saying that at age 26 I'm running out of time. What I am saying is that when you know what you want to do for the rest of your life - and it's what you want with every ounce of your heart and soul - you want to start doing it as soon as possible. But motherhood is not like a career. You can't just decide to get the degree you need or apply for the job you want, or put your resume together and start putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes you just have to wait. And wait. And wait.

First things first: I need to be married. Which, of course, is another aching, yearning, longing desire of my heart. To share the rest of my life with my best friend. To love someone else so deeply that his life and his holiness and his happiness are more important than my own. To come home to my favorite person every single night after work and fall asleep next to him. My heart aches for this.

I am blessed to be in a relationship with a man who I know God is calling me to marry. Michael and I have been together for over two years now, and we are both waiting for God to open the door for us to get engaged. We live in two different cities, and are just waiting for God to allow him to move here. And although I know we both want to get engaged and want to be married, I am dating a man who has such a strong trust in the Lord and is truly waiting for God to let him know when the right time is. So I am trusting God and trusting Michael and simply waiting in joyful hope.

There are just so many days where my body literally aches to be married to him. To come home to him at the end of a long day at work. Instead, for the most part, I come home to an empty house. I microwave myself a quick dinner, because let's face it, cooking for one isn't too much fun. Then I turn on the TV and maybe read some blogs, do some lesson planning for work and go to sleep. There are, of course, evenings when I plan girls' nights with my friends, or when I'm home with my family. But for the most part, my evenings are spent with my TV, which is fine for now, I just want my best friend.

And I want babies. I want kids. I want little ones to love until my heart could just burst. I read blogs about marriage and motherhood, wanting just a glimpse of what life is like for women who are in that part of life. And so many of these blogs are beautiful and joyful. But so many are about the challenges, the exhaustion, the weariness, the pain. And I hear it. I obviously can't say "I understand," but I sympathize.

I guess what I want to say is that I want moms and wives to remember what it felt like before. One day, during those times when I have kids and I want to pull out my hair and give up and just scream, I want to be able to look back and read this - to remember how much I ached and longed for it. Remember the days you begged God to hurry up, because the waiting was becoming unbearable. Remember the days you went home alone, night after night, aching to be next to someone. To have a true teammate that you could wake up next to and face the world with. Remember the days when all you longed for was someone else to take care of other than yourself. Remember the days when you prayed and prayed for your future children, hurting because you are still waiting to meet them and hoping they will come soon.

When I was 21 years old, my doctor called me and told me I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I had no idea what this meant, until I looked it up on the internet, and the only thing I saw in this ocean of information on my newly diagnosed hormonal disorder was: "PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in our country." I sat with my roommate on our couch and cried for hours. In one moment, my dream of being a mother felt like it was taken right out from under me. But through prayer, I finally came to peace with the idea that even if I couldn't have my own children, I could adopt. And I will adopt. My heart is so big and aches for children so deeply, that I knew in that moment that I was going to adopt one day, regardless of if I could have my own children or not. My heart wants to take in every child that needs a home. Perhaps if I discover I am infertile one day, I will discover that God gave me this heart for a reason.

But I know now that every single pregnancy I ever get to experience, God willing, will be a celebration. Even the throwing up, the sleepless nights, the aches and pains, the swollen ankles, will be a joy. Maybe it seems like it's easy for me to say because I've never experienced it. But I'm telling you - I. can't. wait. I can't wait for the crying babies, the exhaustion, the weariness, the snotty faces, the spit-up, the sore breasts, the crazy hair days, the kissing boo-boos, the pull-your-hair-out days, the temper tantrums. I can't wait for the smiles, the snuggles, the rocking to sleep, the never feeling closer to someone than when you're breastfeeding your baby for the first time, the loving someone more than you could ever imagine, the joy of hearing your baby's first word, the seeing the combination of yourself and your husband in one little person.

Just remember. Remember this. Remember now. Remember the longing. Remember before.

Monday, January 13, 2014

currently vol. 1

Finally linking up with Jenna & Mary at A Mama Collective and Anna Kate at Home Away From Home for "Currently" on Mondays. I love it and think it's a great way to be more conversational in my blog - I hope you enjoy knowing what's going on right now! Thanks, girls!

Thinking about: 

The fact that I'm ready to show my face on this blog. The reason I keep my identity private is for my job, but I feel that the only way I can reach out to people and relate to them is to be myself. To be a real person. So here I am. It's nice to meet you.

I'm also thinking about the show that I'm in right now. I know I haven't said anything about it, but I'm in a production where I get to play a 17-year-old girl who is going through high school and just trying to figure out who she is. I also get to dance quite a bit - which is so much fun and also totally terrifying, since I haven't danced in a musical in 7 years. It's been an awesome challenge for me and I'm actually having a blast. I am really eager to see how audiences are going to respond to the show. It's very honest and edgy, and I think it will be controversial - but I think it's an important piece of art that discusses real-life issues that should be talked about. I feel privileged to get to be a part of it.


My One Word by Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen. Recommended by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience. It's about choosing one word for your year and focusing on it. It ties back into my last post - my word for 2014. My word is "liberation" - and I'm hoping this book can provide some wisdom and practical advice on how to incorporate my word into my life and my prayers.

Listening to:

The soundtrack for the musical I'm in. Over and over and over. Because I got cast in the show a week late and had to learn all the music on my own. Not to mention the fact that some of it is just super fun to sing. It's called "bare: a pop opera". It's pretty edgy and has bad language, so I don't recommend it if you're easily offended or have kids around. But it's a powerful story with some fun rock music to listen to.


Oh, let's be honest. I'm a TV junkie. But my favorite? Parenthood. Obsessed. I even got my 17-year-old brother to watch it with me last week and he loved it. It's so honest and the characters are so interesting and real. I love it.

Thankful for:

So much. For the fact that my boyfriend's brother just called me just to catch up. This is a beautiful, beautiful thing for me. For my sister who I got to hang out with this morning. For the fact that I got to sleep in today and will get to for one more day tomorrow. For my beautiful students who sang their hearts out in Mass yesterday and touched my soul when they looked in my eyes and sang, "Here I am, in the face of every child." For the cast of my show, who I don't get sick of even with day after day of long, long, long rehearsals. For the chance to learn that I can actually dance. For my amazing boyfriend, who supports me in everything I do. For the fact that my boyfriend has found a new and profound joy in his life's work. It is amazing to see how alive it has made him and it has healed me in so many ways and has brought me so much joy to see the man that I love be so fulfilled. For my therapist, who sees me and understands me in a way that makes me a better person. For the fact that my therapist weeps for me when I need to be wept for. For the fact that he encourages me to be the best version of myself so gently - just the way that I need it. I am thankful that although I have been in the desert for so long - truly, my dark night of the soul - God is coming through for me and my heart is changing.  Thank You, Jesus.

My awesome cast practicing our dance - we do a show within a show - Romeo & Juliet.

Friday, January 3, 2014

my word for 2014

The last time I picked a "word for the year" was in 2011. I chose hope. 2010 was a year of great loss for me in many ways, and I ended the year in heartache and sorrow. I chose hope and chose to look to Christ in 2011, knowing that He would deliver me. And He did. (He's good like that, you know?) 

2013 was the most difficult year of my life, and this blog has only dipped its toe in the pain I've experienced. I don't mean to throw a pity-party, only to be honest. I have been struggling lately with feeling completely disconnected from God. From being so drowned in my own sorrow and pain and anger that I can barely breathe, barely pray. And it's affecting my relationship with my boyfriend, it's affecting my ability to work, my ability to be any semblance of "myself". I am really struggling. 

And I realized that I am being suffocated by fear. I am so afraid. I feel like a failure constantly, like nothing I do is good enough. The smallest mistakes seem like the end of the world to me, like I am worthless. I am afraid that my boyfriend and I are not going to get married, so I cling onto him in terror, so afraid of losing him that I think I might actually lose him because I'm holding on so tightly. I'm afraid of being horrible at my job every day, like I'll never be good enough. The list goes on and on.

So I had to choose a word for 2014 that is the opposite of fear. I looked up antonyms for "fear" and I found courage, boldness, bravery, confidence. Those didn't resonate with me. 

I thought and prayed and I decided that, to me, the opposite of fear is freedom.

But that wasn't the word. Freedom means "no hindrance or restraint," "the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved," "the state of not being subject to or affected by"....etc.

Nope. That's not it. Freedom is a powerful word, but it seems to me too open-ended. Too vague, too ambiguous. I needed something with more direction, more focus - more purpose.

This. This is my word. 

1. the act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression; release.
2. freedom from limits on thought or behavior.

The difference? Freedom is a stateLiberation is an act.
2014. A year of action. A year of liberation.

Lord, liberate me from my fears, from the chains that have me bound to sorrow, pain and sadness. Release me from oppression, from my slavery to sin and anger. Free my thoughts and my actions so that my life and my love for You can have no limits, no boundaries - so that I am no longer chained down by fear. Liberate me, Lord.

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

--Exodus 14:14